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University of the Pacific has a storied history as the first chartered institution of higher learning in California. Today marks “Founders Day” — a day to recognize the establishment of the university on July 10, 1851.

Originally located in Santa Clara, University of the Pacific later moved to San Jose, then finally to Stockton in 1924, making it also the first private four-year university in the Central Valley. Pacific provided California with its first chartered medical school in 1858, its first coeducational campus in 1871, and its first conservatory of music in 1878. It was the nation's first to offer an undergraduate teacher corps program, the first to send an entire class to an overseas campus, the first to establish a Spanish-speaking inter-American college, and the first to offer a four-year graduation guarantee. Learn more about some university’s history and milestones.

While we look to the past today, we also look ahead to the future.  One of the areas of change and progress in the immediate neighborhood of our school is the 5M project taking shape directly across Fifth Street from our campus.

For those not familiar, the 5M project is one of the major construction projects moving forward in downtown San Francisco. It will include apartments, condos, office space, a park, renovated space for non-profits, and more.

Here is a picture I took with my phone of the construction.

However, you can see a better representation of what the buildings will look like on the project's website.

We have communicated with the project developers over the past two years to stay in touch about the construction activities and plans. One of the benefits is the creation of new park space along Natoma Street and the creation of a rooftop open area accessible to the public above the San Francisco Chronicle building. While this project will take years to complete, it will bring some new amenities to the Fifth Street corridor. It is encouraging to see the construction progress despite the pandemic.

Next week, as we start the new academic year, we will be holding orientation meetings for our continuing students as well as our clinical faculty to ensure that your questions are answered, and you have the most updated information.  We will also begin our brown bags for the quarter with different classes and faculty/staff.  Thank you to everyone who participated in our matriculation week online activities this week.  It is exciting for our newest students to learn more about their school and program and meet so many members of the Dugoni School family.  You are the magic of this school.  Every time we are faced with a new challenge or problem because of this pandemic, you find a creative and positive solution.

We have some noteworthy news to share about Professor Eve Cuny who has been leading our health and safety protocol. She has been selected as the co-recipient of the 2020 Excellence in a Nonprofit Organization Award by the Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund for her lifelong commitment to education of the dental community and the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Shils Awards are given annually to recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that have made significant positive impacts on the oral health community and the health of the public. Professor Cuny has been an invaluable resource to the Dugoni School and it is exciting to see her recognized at a national level with this award. Her expertise on environmental health and safety, infection control protocols, and many other areas has been extremely helpful. The awards will be formally announced this fall.

In addition, Professor Cuny has recently contributed chapters about infection control and prevention to two new textbooks: Burt and Eklund’s Dentistry, Dental Practice, and the Community, Seventh Edition and Darby and Walsh, Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice, Fifth Edition. Both are published by Elsevier. Congratulations to Professor Cuny for all the ways you are working to educate the dental community!

I am grateful every day for the expert dedicated team of faculty and staff that we have working to keep us in the forefront of dental education and oral healthcare.

In other news, we recently gathered online on June 29 to celebrate a very significant milestone: Dean Emeritus Art Dugoni's 95th birthday. Friends and admirers shared messages and recollections, which you can also enjoy in this video.

As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July and the extended holiday weekend, I wanted to send a note to remind everyone to be careful and stay safe. By making smart choices, wearing face coverings, washing hands, and physical distancing, we can keep the Dugoni School family and our communities as healthy as possible. This virus continues to spread in the community, and we should certainly not be letting down our guard.

You may be interested in a special online event today: Harvard Business Review is hosting a session on LinkedIn with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discussing the topic “What It Will Take to Defeat COVID-19.” It takes place at noon PST today.

Also, this weekend, be sure to make time to stay in touch with your friends and families, or others who have helped you get to where you are today. Tell them how much you appreciate how they have touched your life. We are all going through this pandemic together, and when faced with such prolonged uncertainty and challenge, we all need somebody to lean on. I know that I certainly do from time to time.

I hope you enjoy this video that brings to life the importance of taking care of one another.

Be well, enjoy your holiday weekend, and stay safe.

Today marks the celebration of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Even though the proclamation was declared by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, two and a half years later on June 19, 1865, the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation was finally fulfilled when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned that the Civil War was over and that slavery had ended. You can read more about the history of Juneteenth here, here, and here.

Recent events have put a national and international spotlight on racial inequities, police brutality and systemic racism. It is unfortunate that we continue to witness these events, such as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tete Gulley, Tony McDade, Rekia Boyd, Oluwayotin Salau and so many others, and that our country continues to grapple with these inequities that impact Black members of our society.

The Dugoni School’s defining characteristic of Humanism — combined with our core values of Courage, Empowerment, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, and Leadership — are all in stark contrast to these brutal actions and inequities. To achieve our purpose of helping people lead healthy lives, we must dedicate ourselves to health and social equity.

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Each of us, our families, friends, and institutions can take steps to address inequities we see around us. Training and educating ourselves is one part of the solution. I encourage all of us to be aware of potential personal or institutional biases that can affect our school and work environment. At our Faculty Development Day in December, Dr. Magali Fassiotto, assistant dean in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity at Stanford University School of Medicine, provided training to faculty and staff on how they can identify unconscious bias in the classroom and clinical settings. Please take some time today to learn more in our recent Contact Point alumni magazine feature story “Identifying Unconscious Bias: A Movement Toward Equity and Inclusion in the Classroom and Beyond,” here.

As a school family, we will continue to work toward uncovering our own biases, prejudices, and unintentional behaviors, as well as work toward an even better understanding of how our values and our purpose can be put into action to end racism.

“Tolerance like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress, never completed and, if we're as intelligent as we like to think we are, never abandoned.” —Octavia E. Butler

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee, our Pacific ASDA Chapter, and other groups have been active with initiatives and I support their good work and actions. We also have a new resource to support our diversity and inclusion efforts, including our student recruitment. As I mentioned in our Town Hall on Wednesday, congratulations to Melissa Yamanaka, who has accepted a position with the Office of Student Services, as Diversity and Admissions Outreach Manager. She will report to Stan Constantino to advance and strengthen initiatives.

Today, there are discussions, forums, and online activities taking place all across the country in honor of Juneteenth. The San Francisco Chronicle has compiled a list of online events and resources here. One of our students also recommended the documentary “13th,” available on Netflix and YouTube, as an educational opportunity. There are many other educational resources available.  Please see the partial list of resources below shared with us by one of our students.

Links:

Books:

  • Forty Years of Medical Racism: The Tuskegee Experiments — Alondra Nelson
  • Black Man in A White Coat — Damon Tweedy M.D.
  • Medical Apartheid — Harriet A. Washington
  • Just Medicine — Dayna Bowen Mathew
  • Unmasking Racism in Healthcare: Alive and Well — Marie Edwige Seneque PhD, RN
  • The Health Gap — Michael Marmot
  • Black & Blue — John Hoberman

As suggested in our University Interim President’s message yesterday, I too encourage you to take time today to learn, educate yourself, and think about what diversity and inclusion means to you, and what it means for the Dugoni School. Please share your thoughts and ideas about any changes you would like to see or additional resources with our Diversity & Inclusion Committee and me.

The profession of dentistry must also take action to better reflect the current (and future) changes in the demographics of America.  We have much work ahead of us but I am more hopeful and optimistic today than I have ever been before.

It is important that all Americans pledge not just their support for racial justice, but to commit to action to effect real change.   Let us work together as members of the Dugoni School family to grow and change the world as it should be.

“It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.” —Ralph Ellison